Proposed changes will make liquor sales more convenient in Manitoba

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The Manitoba government has introduced legislation to extend the ability to sell liquor with takeout and delivery food orders and make it easier for service models such as wine bars, seasonal and pop-up businesses to obtain licenses, Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today.

“The existing framework for service licences, such as those for restaurants and bars, is complex and has many requirements unrelated to the safe and responsible service of liquor,” said Goertzen. “These amendments will allow us to reduce the number of licence categories and remove barriers to entry. Current licensed business will all remain licensed in a new framework, but more flexibility will expand eligibility for new service models, such as wine bars, seasonal or pop-up businesses, and local bars that don’t have to make costly investments in commercial kitchens or entertainment.”

Manitoba’s regulatory framework for liquor has remained largely unchanged since the lifting of prohibition and this complicated framework creates challenges for the hospitality industry in meeting the evolving preferences of modern consumers, noted Goertzen.

“Levelling the playing field creates a tremendous opportunity for the foodservice industry to recover and grow,” said Scot McTaggart, owner, Fusion Grill and Manitoba director, Restaurants Canada. “Restaurants Canada applauds the government for modernizing the licensing framework focusing on the safe service of alcohol and creating a market where the entrepreneurial spirit can thrive.”

Bill 38 builds on previous legislative reform introduced to allow all liquor service licensees to sell liquor with takeout and delivery food orders, a service option that has been available to dining room licensees since 2020. This change, supported by industry and driven by changing consumer demand, became especially significant as the COVID-19 pandemic changed how Manitoba’s hospitality industry operates, noted the minister.

(province of MB News Release)